Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam
55 years ago, the foundation stone of Masjid Aqsa, Rabwah was laid. This article aims to provide a brief overview of how this magnificent house of Allah was built.
The need for a larger mosque
Allah had blessed the Jamaat so much in response to prayers of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra and the Jamaat that the population of Rabwah was increasing day by day and 27 mosques were already built by 1964. However, it had been felt that Masjid Mubarak, Rabwah (which was being used as the central mosque) was not enough as the Jamaat continued to grow and prosper. In view of this need, a suggestion was made in this regard during the shura (consultation committee) meeting of 1964.
Recommendation and appeal
A recommendation was presented before Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra that said, “Permission to build a mosque in Rabwah should be granted.”
Huzoorra granted permission and on 7 July 1964, for the first time ever, a chanda appeal was published in Al Fazl under the title: “Jami‘ Masjid Rabwah”. After just a couple of days, on 21 July, sufficient funds had been raised and the need for an appeal was no longer necessary.
The total cost amounted to 1.5 million rupees, which was entirely donated by a sincere Ahmadi, Sheikh Muhammad Siddiq Sahib of Kolkata, who did not want his name to be revealed during his lifetime.
Construction of the mosque postponed
In September 1965, war broke out between India and Pakistan. For a period of time after the end of the war, the country was in a state of emergency. If the conditions were favourable, construction work would have started; however, only a few weeks later in November 1965, the Jamaat would witness the sad demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, Musleh-e-Maudra. Due to these reasons and circumstances, the construction of the mosque was postponed.
Foundation stone laid
On the morning of 28 October 1966, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh laid the foundation stone of this mosque with his blessed hands. Around 5,000 people were gathered on this blessed and historic occasion.
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh stated:
“On this occasion, we have gathered here to fulfil the desire of our beloved [Hazrat] Musleh-e-Maud and lay the foundation of Masjid Aqsa in Rabwah, prostrating to our Lord and supplicating, ‘O our Lord! The house You ordered to be expanded, is being built today. If we have committed any outward or inward sin, or if there is anything in our hearts and thoughts that You do not like, then cleanse our hearts and thoughts from it so that the house that is being built in Your name may exalt only Thy name.’
“The Promised Messiah, on whom be peace, received a revelation from Allah the Almighty:
“[‘Enlarge your abode.’] Just now, as I was praying, I began to think which abode, that was to be enlarged, was commanded in this revelation? My attention was drawn to the house the Promised Messiahas chose for himself before being commissioned as a prophet and in which he spent most of his time, which was the house of Allah. This is why people called him ‘masitar’ [a Punjabi term used for the one whose time is primarily spent in the mosque].
“So, one of the commandments in this revelation is, ‘You should increase the number of mosques; I [Allah] will go on creating worshipers’”. (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 23, p. 592)
After this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh laid the foundation stone of this blessed mosque. When all appointed people had laid foundation bricks, Huzoorrh led everyone in silent prayer in which thousands of friends who came to this event participated. Thus, the groundbreaking ceremony of this great historical mosque took place, in the midst of these prayers, and in the presence of Allah the Almighty.
Inauguration of Masjid Aqsa, Rabwah and the first Friday Sermon
On 31 March 1972, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh inaugurated Masjid Aqsa, Rabwah by leading the Friday prayer. This mosque was built on land that spanned 70,000 square feet.
In his Friday Sermon, Huzoorrh said that though the heart of a believer was always full of praise to his Lord, on that day, the hearts of everyone were full of praise and thanks to Allah as He, out of His benign grace, bestowed upon members of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat to construct such a magnificent mosque. Huzoorrh said that many people sacrificed their time and attention for this mosque and the whole Jamaat prayed that this may be a reality.
Masjid Aqsa, like all mosques of the Jamaat, became a centre of knowledge. With the sermons of the Khalifa being delivered and various duroos, many scholars have delivered lectures here and have inspired Ahmadi Muslims to further pursue knowledge and practice Islam in its purest form.